Fritz Friedlaender

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Fritz J. Friedlaender, 87

Fritz Josef Friedlaender, 87, died at home on October 3rd, 2012. His loving wife of 43 years, Gisela, and his two sons, Daniel and Rolf, were by his side.

Fritz Friedlaender was born May 7, 1925 in Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany to Ludwig Friedlaender and Frieda Murzynski. Due to Nazi persecution, his family fled to Bombay, India in 1938. He attended the St. Peter's Boarding School in Panchgani, and then worked as a winding shop foreman in Bombay. In 1948, he arrived in the United States, settling with family in Pittsburgh, and commenced engineering studies at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), where he received his B.S. in 1951, and Ph.D. in 1955. He became a U.S. citizen in 1953.

After a year at Columbia University in New York, he joined the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University in 1955, becoming a full professor in 1962 and retiring in 2000 as Professor Emeritus.

Professor Friedlaender was a world-renowned expert in the field of magnetism. His research focused on engineering applications of magnetic domains, the regions of uniform magnetization in a magnetic material; he and his students made significant contributions for high speed data storage for computers. The technologies for data storage that he explored included ferrite cores, thin magnetic films made from iron-nickel alloys, and magnetic bubble domains in rare earth garnet films. He also investigated high gradient magnetic separation (HGMS). His research led to over 200 publications and presentations at technical conferences, and countless lectures at institutions throughout the world.

Inseparable from his research, was his commitment to teaching, both in the lab and the classroom. Under his supervision, he mentored numerous PhD students, many of whom became School of Engineering distinguished alumni.

He received many honors and awards in recognition of his accomplishments. Among them are Fellow of the Magnetics Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE); IEEE Centennial Medal; IEEE Magnetics Society Achievement Award; IEEE Magnetics Society Distinguished Lecturer; Honorary Doctorate from the Ruhr University in Germany; Fellow of the American Physical Society; Honorary Member of the Magnetics Society of Japan; and IEEE Third Millennium Medal.

Dr. Friedlaender was one of the founding members, and a charismatic leader, of the IEEE Magnetics Society and its annual Intermag conference, which brought together magneticians from around the globe. He served in Magnetics Society governance for his entire career, including as president in 1977-78.

This forum for international collaboration was immensely important to him, and this was reflected by the many professional and personal relationships he developed with scientists throughout the world, notably from Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. He took sabbaticals' in Germany and Israel, and developed an exchange program for international students through the EE Department at Purdue.

Dr. Friedlaender frequently invited researchers to work in his laboratory at Purdue University, and many were invited to his home for conversation and wonderful food served by his wife, Gisela. Early in his career, Fritz started a special tradition: he dedicated part of a wall in the basement of his home for these visiting scientists to sign, as an honorary Wall of Magnetism. These signatures now number in the hundreds, dating back almost a half a century.

Fritz was a congregation member of Sons of Abraham Synagogue in Lafayette. He was also a member of B'nai B'rith, as well as a board member of the Purdue Hillel Foundation, and numerous professional societies. He enjoyed travelling, photography, building and fixing anything mechanical or electrical (including the entire low-voltage wiring for his house), and post-retirement, spending winters in St. Croix. He also became very engaged in his genealogical history later in life, discovering various branches of extended relatives through his research.

He is survived by his wife, Gisela; and two sons: Daniel, of Philadelphia, PA; and Rolf, of Chicago, IL. His parents and his brother, Dr. Friedel Friedlaender, preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm at the Soller-Baker West Lafayette Chapel, 1184 Sagamore Pkwy. Rabbi Audrey Pollack will officiate. Internment will be held at Sons of Abraham Cemetery.

In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Hadassah, the Sons of Abraham Synagogue, or a .

Published in the Journal & Courier on Oct. 4, 2012
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